The Well-Read Wife


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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
October 5, 2005
Obsession By Any Other Name is Still Obsession
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: Flower By Kenzo Oriental Perfume
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
My friend sent me a wonderful bottle of perfume as a gift the other day. It is called FlowerbyKenzo Oriental Perfume. It smells wonderfully like Calvin Klein Obsession on me. It fades a little quicker than CkO. The bottle is also absolutely sleek, slender, and pretty. It sort of has an art deco feel to it. It makes me wish I had a glass-top vanity to display it. I don't know if Flower by Kenzo is going to knock Poeme or Obsession down from my number scent spot, but it is doing a pretty good job of being my steady number #2.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:01 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: October 6, 2005 7:14 PM EDT
September 22, 2005
I Can Read Damnit!!
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: What My Mother Doesn't Know in the Clearcut
Topic: Book Reviews
Today I started and finished a wonderful young adult (a.k.a. teen) novel called “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones. This book has two distinctive features: it was one of the most challenged books (books that people try to ban from schools and public libraries) of 2004 and it was written in a poetry format.

I picked up the book to read in honor of Banned Books Week(September 24-October 1st). I am also trying to re-read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. At the library, we are planning a 4 hour and 51 minute read-a-thon of banned/challenged books (based on the list compiled by the American Library Association). I picked up Sones’ book expecting something depressing, overtly sexual, or sensational. It turned out to be a sweet and uplifting tale. The book is subtle. The main character, Sophia, deals with anti-Semitism, her parents’ rocky marriage, and her burgeoning love life without hitting the reader over the head. The simple and innocent language that Sones’ has her character speak with makes her story much more powerful. You get the feeling that a teenager actually wrote this, and not an adult pretending what a teen of the 21st century might say or do.

And since we’re on the topic of books, let me also recommend the very adult novel Clearcut by Nina Shengold. I am only a quarter of the way through this book, but I’m already completely engrossed. This is, so far, a sexy story about Pacific Northwest woodsman, Earley Ritter, and his lust for a Greek tree planter named Zan. The downside is that Zan is the girlfriend of Reed, the hippie college dropout Earley employs as a partner in cutting tree stumps. The story takes place in the 1970s when sex seemed much easier to have and had fewer consequences. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. I’m already casting the movie in my head. Earley is large, broad, unkempt man in his late 20s that two women find sexy. What man in Hollywood is fairly tall and can be sexy will being unkempt? I’m thinking Viggo Mortensen (although he may be too old)
or Heath Ledger.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:10 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: September 22, 2005 12:12 AM EDT
September 17, 2005
Fashion Food for Thought
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
The Great Flip-Flop Flap
Why we scorn the lowly thong.
By Amanda Fortini
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005, at 2:52 PM PT

The last time a thong was glimpsed at the White House, it was clinging to the backside of Monica Lewinsky. But recently thongs of a different sort—the shoes more popularly known as flip-flops—appeared at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In a photograph of the Northwestern University women's lacrosse team taken with President Bush, four sets of flip-flops are plainly on display. The president, a lacrosse stick in each hand, appears characteristically unfazed. The girls smile tranquilly, unaware that their exposed toes are a scandal in the making.

Upon seeing the photo on the team's Web site, midfielder Kate Darmody's dismayed older brother shot off an e-mail: "YOU WORE FLIP-FLOPS TO THE WHITE HOUSE???!!!" The Chicago Tribune ran an article fretting about whether flip-flops were appropriate for formal occasions, quoting a team mother: "As somebody who is 52 years old it mortified me. I don't go out of the house without pantyhose on." The young women were forced to defend their faux pas. "I tried to think of something that would go well with my outfit and at the same time not be that uncomfortable," the 22-year-old Darmody said. "Nobody was wearing old beach flip-flops," noted her teammate, 20-year-old Aly Josephs, who had opted for a bejeweled brown pair. While the controversy obviously reveals a generation gap when it comes to views on casual dressing, it also raises the question: Why do we scorn the flip-flop?

It is often assumed that the flip-flop provokes us because it reveals too much flesh: toe cleavage, phallic protrusions—the foot's private parts. In truth, however, we aren't nearly so prudish. Mules and open-toed shoes, for example, both expose plenty of skin and fissures and are generally inoffensive. In the lacrosse team photo, the other front-row athletes wear strappy sandals that are at least as minimalist as their teammates' flip-flops. About these shoes there has not been a critical word.

If it's not the foot revealed by the flop-flop that bothers us, then it must be the flip-flop itself. Partly, I think, it's that the flip-flop seems altogether lazy—not only on the part of the wearer, who can't be bothered with buckles or laces, but on the part of the shoe. The flip-flop, essentially a flat piece of rubber or leather held on the foot by a thin strip (known to designers as a "toe plug") that fits between the first and second toes, seems too simple, crudely put together, lacking in underlying design. We'd like our shoes to be the product of more ambition. Our contempt for the flip-flop might also arise from the "toe plug," that undignified strip content to slum around precincts other sandals wouldn't be caught dead in. The trouble may not be that the flip-flop reveals the toes, but that it prefers the dark, dirty places between them.

Mostly, though, our problem with flip-flops is one of pedigree. While the style has been around for centuries—Cleopatra likely slipped her hennaed feet into some version of flip-flops—in the United States, the shoe's origins are shady. They were first favored by fringe groups: surfers and habitual beach-goers. (Mules and stilettos, by contrast, were originally worn by Hollywood starlets.) Most fashion historians agree that flip-flops first appeared in this country sometime around World War II, as rubber imitations of the wooden thongs, called zori, that had long been worn in Japan. Elizabeth Semmelhack, a curator for Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum, has stated that returning soldiers brought flip-flops back as souvenirs, while other scholars have argued that the rubber thongs were created during the war for use in submarines. Whatever the case, the flimsy sandals, dubbed "go-aheads" because it was nearly impossible to walk backward while wearing them, first caught on in California and Hawaii after the war, and then spread to beach communities in other parts of the country.

These were the cheap, poorly constructed flip-flops sold in large bins at the local grocery or discount store, made of shoddy rubber that could be smelled all the way down the aisle. These were the ever-breaking shoes Jimmy Buffet sang about in "Margaritaville"—"I blew out my flip-flop/ Stepped on a pop-top"—and for years, they remained the official footwear of the beach bum. Two forces brought them into the mainstream: The dot-com boom of the early '90s created "casual Fridays" and gave the slob-with-a-lot-of-leisure-time look a certain cachet; and the fashion world, ever fond of the ironic gesture, adopted the lowbrow shoes as a wry counterpoint to expensive clothing. By early 2003, flip-flops had completed their journey from subculture accessory to cultural staple. Designers like Helmut Lang, Burberry, and Manolo Blahnik offered various interpretations, and fashion writers crowed about the "Year of the Upmarket Flip-Flop." With women and men flip-flopping down filthy streets all over America, the trend shows no signs of abating.

In fact, it appears that the flip-flop's status is changing, perhaps because the young have no memory of its humble beginnings. Teenagers now wear flip-flops to prom under long sequined gowns. Celebrities prefer them to stilettos for walks down the red carpet. Fara Abramson, the self-proclaimed "Flip-Flop Guru" and co-owner of, says that many women get married in white flip-flops, as Sarah Michelle Gellar did. And perhaps the president didn't notice the girls' shoes—or lack of them—because his own daughter Jenna is an enthusiast; she wore a black pair with pink Capri pants to her court appearance in 2001. If this isn't enough to convince you that flip-flops are fast becoming part of our cultural uniform, consider that Old Navy, the McDonald's of clothiers, declared April 3, 2005, the "First Official Day of Flip-Flops," announcing sales of "more than 45 million pairs." (There are now so many flip-flops in the world that discarded rubber thongs wash up by the thousands on the shores of Australia's Cocos and Keeling Islands.)

Why have flip-flops caught on? Perhaps it's because they provide a certain visceral satisfaction. There's the catchy, onomatopoeic name. And the metronomic noise they make when you walk—pleasing, I suspect, because it confirms your existence with every step. But for most, flip-flops are about ease and comfort; they're easy to slip on and more comfortable to wear than shoes with some structure. And this is precisely why the recent instance of flip-floppery met with such objection, even as the shoes have become mainstream: You're not supposed to be at ease when you're meeting the president.

Amanda Fortini is a Slate contributor.

Article URL:

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 2:27 PM EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
September 15, 2005
The New Fall TV Season
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Just Call Me Spud
Topic: TV: The Soft Blue Glow
Next week kicks off the new fall television schedule--Fox is early to the game. I've already checked out the season premieres of House, M.D. and The O.C. to my extreme pleasure. Desperate Housewives rolls out on September 25th. There's so much I'm looking forward to that I had to create a chart in order to keep up. Thank you Entertainment Weekly for the nifty guide.

What I'm Looking Forward to Watching
King of the Hill, Last season
The Simpsons
The King of Queens
Arrested Development
Freddie Prinze Jr’s sitcom on ABC
Everybody Hates Chris
The OC
Bernie Mac
Desperate Housewives
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Office
Nightstalker with Gabrielle Union (It might be good!)

Through all of these TV shows and my trying work schedule, I still have to find time to watch my favorite Lifetime show--Strong Medicine with Rick(y) Schroeder.

TV Guide's Fall Schedule

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:30 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Pop Culture Hits Or Are They Misses?
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Say What?
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
Britney Spears became a mother of a baby boy on my birthday! How do you like them apples? Madonna is now a middle-aged, proper mum. What next? Christina Aguilera enters a nunnery? Does nobody want to be our slutty sex symbol anymore?

It's a boy! Spears confirms birth of baby

1 hour, 4 minutes ago

Pop singer Britney Spears announced the birth of her baby boy on Thursday, saying on her web site that everyone was happy and healthy.

"It's a boy!" said the greeting on, over a picture of blue balloons and Spears kissing her husband Kevin Federline. It added: "Everyone is happy, healthy and doing wonderful. Thank you all for your love and well wishes."

The site gave no other details, but it confirmed published reports that Spears had given birth. Us Weekly magazine said the baby was born by Caesarean section on Wednesday at a hospital Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles.

Spears, 23, married dancer Federline in September last year. The Web site did not give the boy's name, but Us Weekly said the couple planned to call him Preston Michael Spears Federline.

The baby is the first for Spears but the third for Federline, 27, who has two children by his former girlfriend, actress Shar Jackson.

Yahoo News


I saw The Transporter 2this weekend. It was a visually engaging, simple-plotted, and fun Sunday afternoon flick. It wasn't better than it's over-the-top predecessor, The Transporter, but it will make its way to my DVD collection. Not to mention, I think Jason Statham is sexy with his lean body and bald head.


I really enjoy it when Keanu Reeves plays tortured good guy. He's really good at it. His seemingly blankness works. He's a white canvas that holds any color. Some would say his acting is bad, but his heroes aren't created for their great elocution. They're created for their mournful eyes, sinewy bodies, and the internal struggle. In the prozac, zoloft, anti-depressant world we live in, we've all become drugged up cut out cardboard versions of ourselves. Our eyes and our faces are devoid of emotion and depth as the drugs supress all, but our souls are in turmoil. Keanu Reeves does the perfect job of portraying the heroes of our ages. He does a fine turn in the surprisingly entertaining Constantine

If only all of us could take a dance with the devil and come out looking as great as Mr. Reeves. (Danced with the devil twice! Don't forget that Keanu was the devil's son in Devil's Advocate!)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:00 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
September 9, 2005
On A Lighter Note, A Few of My Favorite Beauty Things
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: Something a Little light hearted
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
I like buying, wearing, and experimenting with make-up although, now that I am a mom, I don't wear it everyday or as often as I like. However, I still like it. Here's a few products that I like in now particular order.

A Few of My Favorite Beauty Things

1. Calvin Klein Perfumes and Fragrances: My two favorite fragrances are CkOne for women because it is light, citrusy and flirty and Obsession for women because it is musky, sexy and with a hint of vanilla. Each perfume represents a personality I want to represent. Not to mention, I change perfumes according to the seasons. Something heavy in the fall and winter where smell and subtly have to represent sexiness. With the showing of flesh in the summer, it is easier to be sexy.

2. I love Tommy Girl perfume because it is also clean, citrusy, and something about it reminds me of being on the beach. This is the reason that I also adore the fragance Clean--it smells like fresh soap. Like freshly laundered clothes or an Ivory Soap cleaned baby.

3. My final favorite scent is Poeme by Lancome because it has a distinctive sweet and vanilla scent, but not so much vanilla as to make it smell like food. It is a little heavy for spring and summertime but great for the fall.

4. My favorite foundation is Cover Girl's TruBlend, because even if you go up or down a shade it will match very well. It goes on light, covers up imperfections, gives you a smooth look, and is not greasy. Not to mention, it cost less than $10 in the drugstores and a little goes along way.

5. I also value Cover Girl's CG Smoothers Eyeliner. They're fattish eyeliner pencils that can wear as eyeliner or all over your lid. It goes on smoothly, cools on the skin, and comes in an array of pretty eye-opening colors. Some can be a little glittery, so you may want to avoid it depending on your age or number of wrinkles.

6. Estee Lauder's Pure Color Liquid Eyeliner is the bomb, because 1. the packaging is beauitful and 2. it handles really well for liquid eyeliner. The Khaki color has to be the best for brown eyes because of the gold flecks. The pointed eyeliner brush also makes it easy to do a little cat-eye flick just above the lids.

7. Once Removed Nail Polish Remover is an excellent nail polish remover especially if you wear light colors. It doesn't stink, it moisturizes your cuticles, doesn't dry out nail bed, and a little dab will help you fix manicure or pedicure boo-boos.

8. And since we're speaking of manicure and pedicures, your aresenal would not be complete without OPI's Drip Dry which is worth every single penny of it's $11 price tag. It lasts for a long time, and it dries your nails almost immediately. If used as directed, you can tie your shoes or wash your dishes within five minutes of using this stuff.

9. Tarte 24/7 Lip Sheers are wondeful, because they act as a great base for your lip liners, lipstick and/or lip gloss. A little dab of this and my lipstick color actually stayed all the way on from breakfast to mid afternoon.

10. Finally, we have a tie for mascaras. There is Maybelline's Lash Discovery mascara with its tiny brush that hits every single lash on top and bottom without smudging. Then there's Prescriptives's False Eyelashes masacara which extends the lashes to a foot long. Clinique also has a mascara that when applied gives you eyelashes like Twiggy. I feel really sexy when I wear it. :-)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:01 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: September 9, 2005 5:32 PM EDT
September 8, 2005
Mood:  not sure
I am reading a very good book called Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judy Warner. It is basically hitting on the head, more on the side of the head than on top dead center, of what has been bothering me with my own life as a new mother. Essentially, women are under extreme pressure to raise bright, healthy, well-adjusted children with little or no assistance from society. This would be society with both the big S and the little s. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and sisters live too far away to help. These mothers? husbands are there but only half-way. They?re the sensitive and supportive type that the 21st century requires American men to be, but they?re essentially leaving the majority of caretaking in the hands of their wives?and not just the caretaking of the children but of them and of the households.

Some of this does truly apply to me, but the book, of what I?ve read of it, is deeply flawed. For one, it only focuses on the upper-middle-class mother who is well-educated, gave up a high paying job, and now fills her life with raising the perfect child in the perfect suburban environment. If not in the perfect suburban environment, then whatever is the closest facsimile. It doesn?t focus on a woman like me who is clearly middle-class by all socio-economic definitions, but in the lower levels of middle-class. It doesn?t really focus on women like me who are African-American (or anything else besides born and bred American White) or continue to work or have the extra difficulty of trying to raise a ?special child? (in this case a child who is openly adopted and dealing with society?s insensitivity to that).

I have not given up anything grand to become a mother like a career. I brown bag my lunch, do my own pedicures, attempt to wax my own eyebrows, and wear spit-up proof clothes. I wear comfortable shoes, a wash and go hairstyle, and limited my make-up application routine to eyeliner and lip gloss, if I?m lucky. I attempt to go with the flow when it comes to my daughter yet I am cursed with the desire to be perfect or, at the very least, be approved of. The approval I crave comes from several different people and in different forms. I know I shouldn?t crave any outside approval at all, but I need it.

Quietly and to myself and not even really to God, I?m trying to figure out how the adoption agency thought I?d be a good mother. Me? The overweight asthmatic woman who will most certainly not be playing tag with my child when she learns to run? The woman who can?t get pregnant without intervention and then properly miscarries every single pregnancy is a different manner? (This should be some sign to someone that I wasn?t supposed to be a mother.) Finally, I am the woman who once swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and chased it with a glass of wine. How could the adoption agency approve me after knowing all this? Does this sound like a woman who would be a good mother? Who knows?but this doubt makes me need approval. Wait?what I really mean to say is that this doubt causes me to need other people to NOT question or doubt my methods. If they also approve, that would be extra great.

The older mothers, who are old enough to be my mother, at work are constantly giving me advice whether I ask for it or not. I?m being told constantly about not leaving my child alone in her crib when I use the bathroom or about the benefits of private school or teaching my child to read an ?Adult? bible when she?s old enough or that I should make my daughter?s own baby food from scratch. I?m a newbie in the office and I am also their junior (in age not necessarily in the job?s hierarchy). I take the advice with a smile and a seemingly deep sense of gratitude, when inside I am seething. I want them to shut up. Or, at the very least, answer the question I put forth. I?ve learned to not ask questions, but when asked how my baby?s doing I gush like the proud mommy and say ?she?s doing great, sleeping through the night but she?s starting to exhibit some signs of separation anxiety.? When will I learn to shut up before I get to the ?but? part?

Then there?s the stressful, to say the least, two months of living with my mother-in-law. I don?t know who I want to kill first. Her or I for even suggesting that she come and help. It was a stupid idea. Men don?t understand this. Wives, they sort of get it. Every single day, every single decision I made was met with a question from my mother-in-law. Once she changed a pair of socks I had put on my daughter to another pair. I?m not sure why, but it irked me. Then, one day, I tried to have a mom-to-mom; woman-to-woman conversation with her. Tried to explain that with my new job and becoming a new mom, I was more stressful than usual. That I usually handle things better and that I?m more polite. It was an apology of sorts and a request. Here I was, succumbing to her better mothership and hoping for some bit of advice--maybe even a firm shoulder shake or the vague ?things will get better.? Do you know what I got? I got an ?I can take [your daughter] to live with me until she?s older.? She volunteered to take my child away--Another smack in the face, another brick of doubt in my doubt tower. Another day when someone else doesn?t approve of me. She essentially told me, whether or not that was the intention, that I was too much of a mess to raise my own child and that it would be best for her to take her.

There?s also the disapproval of strangers, from the control freak mothers described in Warner?s book who are trying to raise the perfect child or them giving up their jobs were for naught. I don?t seek these people?s approvals, but that doesn?t make their disapproval less painful. At the children?s desk of the library where I work, I talk to the moms and coo over their babies and toddlers. I ask time-killing questions like ?where did you get that stroller?? They become excited and smile and ask incredulously if I am also a mom. When I respond, I get follow up questions. How old is she, blah, blah, blah? When she was younger, I?d tell them her age and they look at me disapprovingly. ?Three months and you?re already back to work?? I nod and then the follow up statement to the follow up question is ?wow that?s so young for daycare!? I bite my lip. I become extremely angry. I want to jump over the table and throttle them. I want to shout that ?I couldn?t afford to stay home any longer, so I?m back here at work helping with all of the Birth to 5 years reading programs so your child can have a step up in life.? But I chill. I set myself up for the disapproval. Don?t get me started with the breastfeeding Nazis.

I say all of this to say that there is some sort of perfect mother pathology in this country that is being forced onto mothers by women and mothers?their so-called sisters in the struggle. And those of us, who want their children to have better lives or a ?fighting chance? or have the slightest of doubt in their mothering ability, inject that pathology directly into our veins like Heroine addicts. We start to judge ourselves and our ability on the sick neurosis of society. We?re slowly killing ourselves with the desire to be perfect when that perfectionism doesn?t exist. We can?t appreciate the smiles our babies give us because we?re so wrapped up in our guilt or desire to be overwhelmingly approved of. The slightest fussiness from our child only verifies our poor mothering ability. Any who?Ms. Warner is saying it better than me in her book.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:18 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: September 9, 2005 4:53 PM EDT
September 6, 2005
More Katrina Relief Info
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Still Pissed At G.W.B

Join KEVIN POWELL and special guests as they present a BENEFIT for New Orleans

285 West Broadway, at Canal Street
downtown Manhattan in New York City
21 and over with ID, and please RSVP to

Admission is FREE but you MUST bring one or more of the following items for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. These items will be loaded onto a big truck in front of CANAL ROOM and driven directly to Claiborne County Health Center in Port Gibson, Mississippi, run by Dr. Demitri Marshall. It is one of the closest rescue and help centers in the New Orleans area and in a position to really get these items to people in need. PLEASE make sure clothing and shoes and sneakers are new OR clean and in good condition....

Clothing for children and adults
Adult shoes and sneakers
Adult socks
Children's shoes and sneakers
Children socks
Bottles of water
Baby wipes
Baby food
Baby aspirin
Toilet paper
Sanitary napkins
Portable radios with batteries
Plastic forks, knives, and spoons
Cotton balls
Cotton swabs
Hydrogen peroxide BUT NOT rubbing alcohol, because that is flammable
Band aids
Shaving cream
Male AND female razors
Air mattresses
Pillows and pillow cases
Gift cards for gas
Wal mart gift cards
Garbage bags
Cleaning supplies
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Books for children, including coloring books
Books for adults

If you are placing donated items in a bag PLEASE LABEL. For example, Children's shoes or Adult shoes, or Children's clothes or Adult clothes.

We will NOT be taking monetary donations. See information below on where you can send financial contributions.

CANAL ROOM ownership is generously donating the space but there will be a CASH BAR ALL NIGHT.

Guest deejays, musical performers, and corporate sponsors to be announced shortly

Monetary donations can be sent to these outlets, which we have confirmed are REALLY delivering services to folks in need. Relief Fund
PO Box 803209
Dallas, TX 75240
OR you can make an online donation by going to
This fund has been set up by nationally syndicated radio personality TOM JOYNER

NAACP Disaster Relief Efforts

The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. NAACP units across the nation have begun collecting resources that will be placed on trucks and sent directly into the disaster areas. Also, the NAACP has established a disaster relief fund to accept monetary donations to aid in the relief effort.

Checks can be sent to the NAACP payable to

NAACP Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore, MD 21215

Donations can also be made online at
FYI, the NAACP, founded in 1909, is America's oldest civil rights organization
Set up by native New Orleans rapper Master P and his wife Sonya Miller

You can mail or ship non perishable items to these following locations, which we have confirmed are REALLY delivering services to folks in need....

Center for LIFE Outreach Center
121 Saint Landry Street
Lafayette, LA 70506
atten.: Minister Pamela Robinson

Mohammad Mosque 65
2600 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
atten.: Minister Andrew Muhammad

Lewis Temple CME Church
272 Medgar Evers Street
Grambling, LA 71245
atten.: Rev. Dr. Ricky Helton

St. Luke Community United Methodist Church
c/o Hurricane Katrina Victims
5710 East R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75223
atten.: Pastor Tom Waitschies

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center
3815 Live Oak
Houston, Texas 77004
atten.: Deloyd Parker

Alternative media outlets where you can get a more accurate and balanced presentation of the New Orleans catastrophe....

PLEASE VISIT all these websites.

Five things you can do to help immediately

1. Duplicate what we are doing elsewhere in New York City, in your city or town, on your college campus, at your church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious institution, via your fraternity or sorority, or via your local civic or social organization.

2. Cut and paste the information in this eblast about

Items needed by survivors of the New Orleans catastrophe
Monetary donations
Where you can ship non perishable items
Alternative media outlets
Five things you can do to help immediately

and share this information, as a ONE SHEET, with folks near and far, via email, or as a hand out at your event, religious institution, and with your civic or social organization.

3. Voice your opinion to local and national media, and to elected officials, via letter, email, op ed article, or phonecall, regarding the coverage of the New Orleans catastrophe, as well as to the federal government's on going handling of the situation.

4. Ask the hotel you frequent, such as the Marriott or Holiday Inn, to give your hotel points to an individual or family in need of a stay for a night, a few nights, or longer, depending on how many points you have. Be sure to get confirmation that your points have been applied in that way. Encourage others to do the same. Also inquire if your airline frequent flyer mileage can be used for hotel stays as well. Finally, either offer to pay for hotel rooms, or encourage others to do so, including your place of employment or worship or your organization.

5. Dare to care about other human beings, no matter their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, geography, culture, clothing, hairstyle, or accent or language. Like September 11th, the New Orleans catastrophe is a harsh reminder that all life is precious, as is each day we have on this earth.

AND REMEMBER that our attention and response to the New Orleans catastrophe needs to happen in three stages...DISASTER, RECOVERY, and REBUILDING. We need you for all three stages.

Media inquiries for BENEFIT for New Orleans....

APRIL SILVER, Akila Worksongs

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 10:59 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
September 4, 2005
I'm Slightly Pleased
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Corporate Responsibility
I am pleased that the big coroporations I listed in my last entry are doing things to help with the Katrina Relief Effort. I am curious if they are doing more than the U.S. Government at this point.

It is becoming clearer to me that if this type of natural disaster had happen in Texas or someplace where 67% of the population were not black and poor, the current government would have reacted faster in their rescue response. And why does it seem that the only help the government is providing is the deployment of the U.S. National Guards. The national guards are being ordered to shoot on sight armed looters and roving gangs. If the government had reacted sooner, perhaps this type of situation would not have developed. I suppose this is what Wal-Mart and KMart deserve for selling guns. :-/

Is there some law that says that the U.S. Military cannot shoot Americans on American soil? Or did I just make that up from too many U.S. Espionage movies.

more later, I'm sure...

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:15 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
September 2, 2005
Mood:  hug me
I know we are all concerned about the lack of speed in which federal help is being provided to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I did some research, and came up with a list of things you could do to help. Every small bit helps. Have a great weekend and keep yourselves healthy.

1. Pray (Mostly, I like to say a little prayer for myself before I start praying for others.)

2. Visit for a directory of all organizations involved in the the relief effort and how you can donate to them. Or visit for general info on helping.

3. Write your favorite AND your less favorite congressperson and senator. Encourage them to hurry federal aide and rescue efforts to New Orleans. You can write the president too, but his helper monkey might not know how to read either. and

3. Encourage friends and associates who are looking for family members to search the International Red Cross family registry at

4. The Red Cross discourages donations of collected goods and individual items for disaster relief except from major corporations who may have a large and nearly unlimited supply. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting .

5. Visit or to make donations.,, and all have relief effort links where you can make donations.

6. Don't have money but time? Call the Red Cross and see how you can donate your time.

7. See how you can help lost and displaced pets and animals: ; ; and (The Humane Society)

8. Write, call, and e-mail the big corporations and ask them how they're going to help with the relief effort. Go to to find contact information on your favorite companies. I'd suggest companies like Wal-Mart, Target, McDonald's, Kellogg's, and the oil companies.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th St.
Bentonville, AR 72716 (Map)
Phone: 479-273-4000
Fax: 479-273-4053

1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Map)
Phone: 612-304-6073
Fax: 612-696-3731

1 Kellogg Sq.
Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599 (Map)
Phone: 269-961-2000
Fax: 269-961-2871
Toll Free: 800-962-1413

McDonald's Plaza
Oak Brook, IL 60523 (Map)
Phone: 630-623-3000
Fax: 630-623-5004
5959 Las Colinas Blvd.
Irving, TX 75039-2298 (Map)
Phone: 972-444-1000
Fax: 972-444-1350

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:47 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 27, 2005
If I Have Everything I Want, Why Am I Not Happy?
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Kiki's Self Pity Party
I feel really fucking bad, but not in that suicidal bad way that I felt in 2000-2001. I feel like I need an extreme change. I want to burn all my clothes and shoes. I want to cut off all my hair. I want to lose 100 lbs (that is not a typo I weight 215 lbs and summers are torture because humidity doesn't like big and round). I feel stressed all of the time. I need more money. I need more time at home. I don't like my work schedule. I don't like coming home at 10 o'clock two nights a week. I need a day to myself. I need my eyebrows waxed and my chin waxed and a decent pedicure. I'm angry because a work five days a week and, soon, sometimes six. I'm married with a child, but I might as well be single and childless for all the time I don't see them.

I miss my friends. I miss my old drinking pals from my old job. How can I say what I'm feeling without being judged as being overdramatic or overreactive or a bad mother because this what I should expect? not even the brightest lipstick can make me feel pretty anymore. I'm mad because I'm in the same financial situation I was in ten years ago, but it hurts more because I make twice as much.

I don't know how to cut corners and still make life bearable. Would my life be fun if I got rid of cable completely? Or cut our grocery bill in half by eating egg noddles and kidney beans (although egg noddles with butter is really tasty) every night for dinner or generic Tasty Os and Corn Flakes for breakfast? Should I go back to drinking regular milk that makes me sick because lactose free soy milk costs nearly $4 for a half gallon?

I work in a library but I don't get to read. I want to but I can't.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:00 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 25, 2005
What Is Stealing My Joy Part 2
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: America Is Making Our Girls Stupid
I sincerely believe that each marginalized group in the United States is being distracted by tons of false issues thrown at them by the media to prevent them from rising up and taking their place, as equals, beside white upper class men. There needs to be revolution.

I've come to loathe this teen-youth pop culture "marketing campaign" the media is aiming at the U.S.'s children. Most of the paperback books that come in are trashy, homogenous, and passes through the mind like olestra through the colon. Children come into the library looking for books based on characters from their favorite Disney, Nickelodeon, or Cartoon Network shows (and have a tantrum when they're not on the shelves due to theft). Not everything has to be wholesome or thought provoking, but there has to be a balance. There is no balance. The culture is becoming to one-sided. Children are becoming stupider, and we're feeding into it lock, stock and 2 smoking remote controls.

I'm freaking out because I never thought too much about these things until I became a mother. I'm serious when I say that I'm blocking MTV, BET, and ten out of the 15 cable channels geared towards children. (On a side note, I don't recall watching that many cartoons as child except on Saturday mornings and perhaps an hour after school if an hour...)

I'm off my soap box now. Read the Wall Street Journal article below.



It's, Like, So Totally Cool Or Whatever
Girls' magazines are filled with bad grammar, but their content is even worse.

Friday, August 19, 2005 12:01 a.m

Last summer a polite, articulate 11-year-old friend of my daughter's went off eagerly to a week of summer nature camp--and found herself ridiculed and ostracized for what the other children considered her peculiar manner of speech. "She was mocked," the girl's parents recounted, "for speaking in complete sentences."

I had largely forgotten this sad little anecdote until I happened on an online edition of Girls Life Magazine. "Girls Life?" thought I, all innocence. "Why, that must have something to do with the Girl Scouts." An image of wholesome do-goodery, of scrubbed cheeks and Norman Rockwell freshness, rose obediently in my mind--only to sink instantly under a deluge of inane headlines: "Too cute suits!" "Guys, Life, Friends, Body: Real Advice Just for You." "Wanna sound off about GL mag?" "Win FREE stuff! Feelin' lucky? Enter now!"

Guys? Wanna? Feelin'? Ugh! Yet it turns out that Girls Life is indeed the magazine of the Girl Scouts of America (GSA), that high-minded organization originally modeled on Britain's Girl Guides, which itself sprang from the rib of Lord Robert Baden-Powell's turn-of-the-century Boy Scout movement.

Girls Life is a successful stand-alone magazine ("From liking boys to 'like-liking' boys, Girls Life has it all!") and a five-time recipient of the Parents' Choice Award; the copies that Girl Scout subscribers receive contain a special four-page GSA insert. Yet isn't it piquant, even painful, to consider that an organization created to promote children's spine-straightening moral and physical development has devolved into one that through its magazine asks: "Poll Party: Favorite nail polish color?"

"If an article comes in and it's a snore, and just needs to be funned up a little, I fun it up," the executive editor of Girls Life, Kelly White, told the online writers' magazine, The Purple Crayon. "I inject it with words like 'swank' and 'stoked.'" Girls Life, Ms. Kelly emphasized, is "not condescending. Still, we try to speak our readers' language."

No wonder my daughter's friend had such trouble at summer camp. When adult editors talk of "funning up" the English language, when the vast panoply of info-tainment aimed at children parrots and reinforces the cheesiest pubescent vocabulary and preoccupations, what chance does a well-read, well-spoken child stand? In the terrible, gleaming world of adult-facilitated teen culture, talking calmly in complete sentences marks you as a freak.

Teen People asks, "How Sexy Are You?" and "Gotta Hottie Next Door?" Cosmo Girl hosts a "Battle of the Boys: Who's the Hottest?" and Bop magazine online offers a male-as-sex-object game called Frankenboy: "Build your dream boy and e-mail him to a friend!"

But magazines are only a part of it. Watch television aimed at the young and it is difficult to escape the disquieting sense that too much children's programming exists to--well, program children. Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel teach children through precept and relentless example how to preen, how to diss and how, if dark-skinned, to talk Ebonics. Virtually every girl sashays in heels, miniskirts and lipgloss; virtually every adult is an easily outsmarted villain or an eyeroll-worthy chump.

And always, coiled beneath the amped-up happy talk of cool stuff, mean girls and cute guys, is sex. Children groomed within an inch of supermodeldom, with flashing teeth, gleaming hair and sexy clothes, are shown having crushes, yearning for dates and trying to act cool so as to get dates. Though for the misery that often results from too-early dating and consequent backseat fumbling, you presumably have to switch to Lifetime . . .

It used to be that adults talked about bringing children up, of raising them. Today the mass media, with the tacit support of parents, has largely abandoned any effort to lift children up and instead crouches ever lower to what it thinks is their aesthetic and linguistic level. Slam poet Taylor Mali's witty cri de coeur "Totally like whatever, you know?" aptly laments the pandemic brainlessness this fosters:

Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . .You know?
That we've just gotten to the point
where it's just, like . . .
So actually our disarticulation . . .ness
is just a clever sort of . . .thing
to disguise the fact that we've become
the most aggressively inarticulate
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

Clunky bottom-feeding language is, of course, an expression of clunky bottom-feeding thinking. And when you "fun up" language, you trivialize thinking, fueling the already unhelpful suspicion among young teens that someone who talks seriously is ipso facto boring. So what we have is this extraordinary wave of empty, glittering, funned-up teen culture that rushes children into an ersatz maturity--chiefly sexual--and where the only reward is a jaded heart and an empty head.

The natural defense, of course, is that the purveyors of mass culture are only giving young consumers what they want. Yet it is also true that magazines, Web sites and TV shows do not just minister to taste; they create taste. And here is where adults are grievously culpable, for it is not children who pitch ditzy show ideas, write facile scripts, edit funned-up, dumbed-down copy or crop photos to make Lindsay Lohan's breasts look melon-esque.

It is worth mentioning that this awfulness applies chiefly to girl-consumers. Boy's Life, the magazine for Cub and Boy Scouts (and published by the Boy Scouts of America), is fully of goofy jokes, puzzles, jazzy photos of boys swooshing on surfboards or white-water rafting--even a Bible Heroes comic strip--but there is not a girl to be seen, or alluded to, except a few little-sister-types in the ads. But then, lip gloss, hip inarticulateness and sashaying in heels don't really have male counterparts. So perhaps there is no consumer demand.

When a girl recites the Girl Scout Law, she promises to respect herself and others. Somehow I don't think the founder of the American Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, would have dreamt this to include having "beach-perfect hair" or "crushing on a Momma's boy." And when there is scarcely a stiletto-height's difference between the magazine vehicle of the Girl Scouts of America and, say, Cosmo Girl, something is rotten in the culture--not teen culture (that goes without saying) but adult culture.

Mrs. Gurdon is a columnist for National Review Online.

Copyright ? 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ed Note: A surprisingly good teen magazine, Teen Vogue.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:49 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
The Democrats Are Wussies and Other Things That Are Stealing My Joy, part 1
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Conneticut Sues Federal Government

State is first to sue over 'No Child Left Behind' law

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) -- Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging President Bush's No Child Left Behind school reform law because, it says, no money is provided to cover expensive testing and required programs.

The state is the first to go to court over the law.

"The goals of the No Child Left Behind Act are laudable," said the state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal. "Indeed, Connecticut has pursued these goals for decades, but the federal government has failed in implementing them."

Blumenthal announced plans for the lawsuit this spring, after the federal government repeatedly refused to waive some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. The law aims to have every student in public schools proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Mandatory annual testing has been Connecticut's chief complaint. The state, which has been administering its own mastery test for 20 years, wants to continue testing every other year.

"This mindless rigidity harms our taxpayers, but most of all our children," Blumenthal said.

Standardized testing in grades three, five and seven is scheduled to begin this school year.

A recent report projects that the state will fall $41.6 million short in paying for the law's requirements through 2008, but federal officials question that estimate. A state law prohibits state money from being used to pay for the federal law's requirements.

In Utah, the state legislature passed a measure defying the federal law, and it was signed by Gov. Jon Huntsman on May 2. The law gives state educational standards priority over the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

The nation's largest teacher's union, the National Education Association, joined with school districts and union chapters across the country to file a lawsuit this year challenging the law. Connecticut's union chapter is part of that lawsuit.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Find this article at:

I have never been a fan of the No Child Left Behind Act because it is a thinly veiled attempt to funnel federal funds for public schools into private, mostly religious and parochial schools. By offering parents vouchers to send children to private schools, the government is denying money to the poor public schools and causing them become even poorer. I am also against it because most of the private schools are of a religious and/or Christian nature, and using federal funds to fund Christian/religious organizations is a blatant attack against the separation of church and state. President Bush and his right wing Republican cronies are trying to force a Christian theocracy on the United States, where everyone must be straight, Christian, pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and pro-using the Ten Commandments to govern the land.

The United States is not homogenous and has marketed itself as a heterogeneous nation where people of all races, nations, religions, and creeds can come to worship freely and practice Capitalism. To go against that is a sin against everything this nation has supposedly built itself upon. To turn the United States into a Christian Theocracy where free thinking is considered an act of treason is a bait and switch. Somebody call the Better Business Bureau. Fuck it! Here’s my receipt, give a me a damn refund.

I’m really pissed at the Democratic Party because they are a bunch of pussies. They claim to be against everything the Republican Party and George W. Bush stands for, but they don’t do anything to stop him. They don’t shout loud enough. They don’t make a big enough fuss. They fight each other and continue to act rational in the face of irrationality. Stop leading by quiet, meek, rational examples, and go crazy like the Republicans. Get on television and say what you stand for and don’t back down. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and not waffle. The Republicans do it all the time and they don’t back down. Have some fucking convictions and stick to them, whether or not the press may think you’re wrong. Who gives a damn about the press thinks? Give a damn what your patrons think! Give a damn about what your donators and supporters, like me, think! Be loud, be bold, be brash, and be united in front of and behind the cameras. Don’t gossip about each other like a bunch of mean pre-teens. I refuse to give another dime to the DNC until they show a back bone, and that doesn’t mean pushing Hillary Rodham Clinton as our next presidential candidate. Nobody likes her.

To the horror of no one but myself, I have decided not to vote in the NYC Mayoral elections because I don't want any of the candidates to win. I don't like the Democratic nominees because they are professional Mayoral candidates. They have all run at least 4 our of the last 5 elections, and I still don't know their positions. I like Mike Bloomberg but his overzealous and singleminded drive to bring a football stadium or basketball stadium to NYC keeps me from voting for him. We don't need any more people, tourists, cars, pollution or buildings in NYC except some affordable (below $1000 a month)and rentable apartments.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:34 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 17, 2005
Bend Me Anyway You Want Beckham
Mood:  amorous
Now Playing: David Beckham
Who is David Beckham?

I'm not even going to waste your time by telling you who David Beckham is, because you should know him by now by the sheer force of his enormous celebrity. He plays soceer in Spain, but I've never really seen him play. I heard he's good but not that great. I don't know and I don't care. In all seriousness, all I know about David Beckham is that I'd like to fuck his brains out. Or, he can fuck my brains out. Either way there will be some fucking and some brains leaving. :-D

It's been a good month for us stateside, Bechkam but not soceer lovers. He was on the cover of Details and on the cover of ESPN magazine. The stories both say basically the same thing. David is married to Posh Spice and is hounded by the UK media. David really wants to break into the U.S. David is really sweet, humble, and pleased by his success. David isn't arrogant. David is so handsome he intimidates male reporters. David is the world's most famous metrosexual. David Beckham is just so perfect.

Yes, David Beckham is perfect. Reportedly, he wore Posh Spice's panties. Normally, not my bag of tea, but I'd let him wear mine. *blush*

I like David Beckham because he's as dumb as a bag of rocks, but genuinely sweet. I like him because he doesn't seem to care what people think, and seems to be a regular bloke under all of the bling. Finally, because his body and his accent are really sexy.

I hope he does make it in America though because I'd like to see more of him. ;-)

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:02 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
August 10, 2005
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things--The Book, Not Me
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Carolyn Mackler's Young Adult Tour De Force
Topic: Book Reviews
As a former undernourished-looking child and a current plus-sized 213-lb woman, I loved The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Don’t take a look at the title and lump this book into the Teen Bridget Jones-Chick Lit category. Although it resembles one of those books of the ever fast growing genre, The Earth…is remarkably insightful, introspective, multi-layered, and well written. Carolyn creates a wonderfully multi-dimensional character in the form of Virginia Shreves.

Virginia is a blond-haired and overweight 15-year old who does not fit in with her over-achieving, athletic, slim, and brown-haired family. Virginia is not only an outsider at school, but an outsider at home as well. Like her mindless eating and magazine reading, she encourages the isolation as shield. If no one can notice her, no one can criticize or tease her about her weight. Virginia even dabbles in self-mutilation to deal with the pain she feels about being a fat girl in world where being thin is in.

Unlike other plus-size heroines, Virginia has a grasp of her sexuality and takes a firmer grasp of it as the novel progresses. Virginia makes out with her unofficial boyfriend, and enjoys it even when the size of her body makes her nervous. She also masturbates and is not ashamed feeling arousal towards boys. Mackler writes these scenes, there are a few but not too many, with careful wording. It is never vulgar or sappy. It is plain and unobtrusive.

A tragedy in Virginia’s family forces her to take charge of her mental, physical, emotional, and social health. By the end of the novel, which I read in little over a day, you’re feeling as energized and as unstoppable as Virginia. The best thing about the book is that Virginia’s boost in attitude has absolutely nothing to do with her weight. (I won’t spoil the ending by tell you whether or not she slims down.)

This is the best book featuring a plus-sized teen girl since Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett. I recommend it to all teens, regardless of size, struggling with body image and self esteem issues. I also think this book, like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, would make an excellent choice for a Mothers-Daughters Book Club.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:23 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: August 10, 2005 11:25 PM EDT

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